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This article covers recent changes to Illinois Homeowners Association and Condominium Owners Association in 2022. It also provides an overview of HOA and COA disputes.
When you own a property, there are specific rules and regulations that you are responsible for adhering to per your local HOA and COA. This article covers recent changes to Illinois Homeowners Association and Condominium Owners Association in 2022. It also provides an overview of HOA and COA disputes.
What are HOA's and COA's?
Homeowners Associations, or HOAs, and Condominium Owners Associations, or COAs, are associations for groups of properties that protect services and provide a sense of community through activities and enforcement of shared values. HOAs and COAs have similar goals but are governed by different Illinois laws.
What Is The ICPA?
The Illinois Condominium Property Act, also known as the "ICPA," governs condominium owners associations (COAs) in Illinois. If you own a condominium, chances are that the property manager of the condominiums is a member of a COA. The member is a co-owner of the common area or common elements of the condominium development that are not the individual units. These are things like the lobby, hallways, and outdoor spaces.
Condo associations charge a monthly fee called an assessment to maintain the common elements of the condo development. A COA's key legal instrument is a "Declaration of Condominium." Read our article Illinois Condominium Law Explained for more information on these laws
If the property is not a condominium, it is part of a non-condominium common interest community association. In a non-condo common interest community association, each member owns their own land and the private residence constructed on the land. Members in this type of community also pay monthly or yearly assessments to maintain the community's common areas. These types of communities are commonly known as homeowner's associations.
Members of the homeowner's association, or HOA, must also comply with rules and restrictions listed in a legal document called a "Declaration of Covenants." These covenants often include architectural design requirements and landscape restrictions, among other requirements. HOA communities are governed by the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act.
Read our article Residential Real Estate Checklist for more information on what to look for when buying a property, including HOA laws.
What Happens If I Have A Dispute With My HOA Or COA?
There are often disputes that arise between property owners and the managing associations. For example, an HOA member cannot get architectural designs approved because the HOA's review committee keeps changing the requirements. A homeowner can engage the help of an experienced attorney to work with the HOA.
What Happens If I Don't Pay My HOA Or COA Assessments?
The largest disputes arise from assessments (payments made to your HOA or COA). If you don't pay your HOA or COA assessments, you can face severe legal consequences, including eviction or foreclosure. A condo declaration states that assessments are liens against the property and the owner's personal obligation. A condo association can impose late fees on past due assessments and charge interest on these payments. However, Illinois judges favor late fees over interest. Further, late fees must be reasonable and not used as a penalty.
Read our article How Does An Illinois Foreclosure Work for more information on foreclosure laws.
If assessment collection remedies have been exhausted, a lien can be placed on the property. Once recorded, a lien puts the community on notice that the owner has defaulted on their assessments. Usually, it takes years for the association to remove the lien because the owner will usually try to sell the property to pay the delinquent assessments.
Another option is a foreclosure for an association to collect unpaid assessments. This is not the best method of recovering past due assessments as it is an expensive and time-consuming action. Once a lien foreclosure is recorded, the association takes ownership of the property subject to prior liens, such as the first mortgage. The first mortgage amount can be very costly, and a lien foreclosure can also require extensive time. It is not a recommended strategy for associations.
Can My HOA Or COA Evict Me If I Don't Pay My Assessments?
Yes, an HOA or COA can evict you if you do not pay your assessments under the Evictions Act. An eviction action for an HOA or COA works just like a traditional landlord-tenant eviction, except the cause of action is brought for delinquent assessments rather than rent. The association will have the burden of proving its case in court by proving the amount of delinquent assessments at the trial. If the association prevails at trial, it will be awarded an Eviction Order, formerly known as an Order for Possession, which grants possession of the unit to the association. The association can then lease the unit to a third party to recover the delinquent costs, court costs, and legal fees.
Can An HOA Or COA Pursue Additional Legal Action?
Yes, an association can sue you in a breach of contract action. This remedy is used when the member is no longer the property owner due to foreclosure or eviction. A breach of contract is also used against owners when the association is not seeking an Eviction Order. The declaration places an affirmative duty on owners to pay the association assessments.
The law does not permit the association to collect attorney's fees from a former defendant because the former owner is no longer a party to the contract. The owner's failure to pay assessments is a breach of the contract's essential terms. In a breach of contract action, the association requests delinquent assessments from the court instead of possession of the property.
If you are facing foreclosure, read more about Your Rights in an Illinois Foreclosure in our recent article.
What Other Actions Can An HOA Or COA Penalize Me For?
An HOA can fine an owner for violating the bylaws (covenants) in the declaration, the legal instrument of the association. If the association follows the provisions of the bylaws and notify an owner in writing of the violation, there is a chance for the owner to state his or her case. Some common examples of bylaw violations include unauthorized landscaping and building materials, among other things. Be sure to read your HOA and COA bylaws to know what you can do to your property without facing penalties.
What Are The Illinois COA And HOA Law Changes For 2022?
Although there were no significant changes in the COA and HOA laws for 2022, there was a change to the Illinois Condominium Property Act. The change to the law permits condo associations to require a majority or less of the condo association board members to reside in the condo building as their primary address. A condo declaration cannot require a majority or more of the condo board members to live in the condo as their primary residence.
If you have more questions regarding HOA and COA laws or are facing disputes, contact one of our experienced real estate attorneys today. You can reach us at 630-324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form, and a member of our team will get in touch with you shortly.
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